Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not my Sock Collection

I appreciate the swapping of dollars during the holidays. While I am spending money on flowers, gloves, things of art...that kind of stuff, for gifts for those I love there are the ones I love doing the same for me. This year was the Great Cash Swap. Since the cash was a gift I felt compelled to purchase things just for me, as if it was a gift. Seemed fitting. I renewed my sock collection, for starters. I updated one of my cardigans even. And then I did the ultimate...I spent the rest all on one thing. I got me one big thing all at once. I'm still surprised. It's hard for me to surprise me. I got an iPad with wireless keyboard. I'm so cool.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Notes from the Castle

I love being able to use the "royal we". As in, we have a new blog now. Or, we have opened the site to view - although I still have everything pretty much tucked away until the New Year unveiling.

With a blog name of Notes from the Castle I can be "royal" any time I wish. 'Cept it should be noted (and shouted from the rafters) that my illustrator is hard at work even as I type this. I will be as excited as any readers to see what she sends over. So, this truly is a "we" effort. And of course, yes, we are "royal".

I've included the link above and here for Notes from the Castle. Put it on your list of must-see's in the new year.

I am shamelessly promoting this one.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


There was a time when my two daughters would not live under the same roof. There was a time when nothing that was said was welcome between the two of them. There was a time when I extended dinner a full hour so they would each eat with me, but not together.

Times change.

Life is good.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Everyone SING!

Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday dear Sarah! (lilt up here for a different tone...)
Happy Biiirrrthdddaaaay to Meeeeeeee......


Friday, December 17, 2010

New directions - Steps 21-23

Step #21 (of 36,432 steps)
Blog launch is coming along. I have an illustrator now. She is excited and looking forward to the whole idea of being an illustrator. I've been putting finishing touches on some new posts for the new blog. Funny, as I re-read, re-view and generally polish up what I've written I'm not sure I would call these fariytales. It makes me wonder how my voice will change and grow this coming year. Three posts a week is quite a challenge. I'm feeling good about stretching myself this way.

Step #23
I'll be talking with some folks that are a little quicker in the CSS side of blog management than I. That's the side that adds style and formatting to a blog. I found a nice background that fits the tone of what I think I'm going for. Cross your fingers that I will have "the look" I had hoped for when I first envisioned this.

Blog launch is set for January 1st. I'm over at Wordpress for now. I'll give an actual address for RSS feed and Readers sometime between Christmas and New Years. This is a rather public challenge for me. Public in a different way than running the 1/2 marathon last year. It is still every bit the challenge the marathon was. It definitely has the same bit of excitement.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slush of Christmas

A friend of mine does one giving/charity thing a year. She's adamant that she does this one event. She is adamant that she only needs to do this event. It takes three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas and she's done and happy. I say, Bravo.

As we were hanging out this weekend my friend was filling me in on the goings on with her event. Two weekends ago the group had come together at the storage garage and sorted and counted and generally put all the donations in order. Last weekend the group had gone out to the storage garage and filled stockings, gotten all the gifts wrapped that called for wrapping and had set up stations for getting the goods to the event next weekend. This coming week-end is the give-away for those that have signed up.

Here's the part that surprised me...They also went to a neighboring group that does the same thing (but earlier this year) and picked up all the goodies that had not been taken. It was a lot. Add to my surprise that previous years that other group usually came to my friend's group and picked up the left-overs. There are always a lot.

I had no idea. There is a slush in giving. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Twenty two months since I was laid off. That's how long it takes to replace a good job.

[Thank you for great friends with leads and bush beating abilities, for strong family and unconditional love, for contract positions to tide me over, for a beautiful city to explore in the meantime. Thank you for all the wonderful "in the meantimes". ]

Yes, congratulations ARE in order. My bottle of Stella Rosa is chilling in the frig waiting for me to get home. I brought the bottle with me from Wisconsin to Washington. It is finally time to enjoy it. I have arrived.

Monday, December 13, 2010

If ideas feed's a banquet

In the mess of papers I have been attempting to make order from [okay, trying to toss them out - but I have to read them first, you know.] I found and rescued five [yes, as in the number 5] stories that either need cleaning up, or finishing.

The fairytale blog is coming along. The plan is to write and post three stories a week. For a year. Right now I feel like I'm filling the chute. I started carrying a little [really little] notebook to jot down ideas in. One idea per page - in one week - eight pages. It truly is amazing how an idea feeds on itself if you let it. (So, choose wisely which ideas to feed on.)

There is a quote [I should go look for the author except I'm paraphrasing so heavily], A writer writes, and writes, and writes. An author writes and writes then throws out most of it, only keeping what is good. Today, I'm a writer.

Throughout the year there's going to be some stories that fall flat on their face [I hope to cull those out before I hit "publish post"]. And then there'll be some real sparklers, some unforgettable stories that take hold and hang on. These are what I write for.

I take requests. And they are fun to write. Doug, per your request I wrote a story with a messenger on a bicycle heading for the Mountain of the Giants. This is the'll have to wait until the blog opens to read it. [wink, wink]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Paper shuffle

Amazing how paper spontaneously spawns more paper. I've been shifting through the paper that has grown in my apartment. It seems kind of like rabbits, once they start making babies there's no stopping them. I have a multitude of stacks of paper throughout the apartment. I don't know how they got there, how they grew so tall, nor what is in the stacks. Until, of course, I started filtering through them.

I have receipts. I don't know why. I have an entire stack of job postings I printed. It was a foot tall. Each of these papers have little notes written regarding key points, dates of application submittals, if I was able to contact anyone - or sent anything snail mail. It's rather depressing, that stack. I've made a new stack of most of it. That stack has a post-it on the top page. The post-it reads, "Shred".
Another stack is all the interesting things that catch my attention. What a cluster of random bits. There is no ryhme or reason to any of it. Much of it does not catch my attention today. Possibly because it is just a stack of paper. I've pulled up whole magazines - tore out the page I wanted and tossed the rest. I've made little stacks of paper hoping to find some themes among the mess. Big stacks into little stacks. Is this any different than big rocks into little rocks? I'm chained to paper. I have tablets and tablets of paper I've written on. Ideas, stories, whining bits, plans quickly forgotten. There's a page or two left to each tablet. Not much more. I wonder that I don't finish down to the last page of paper in the tablet.

The most interesting pieces of paper are the ones I started stories on. It's interesting to me that most of them have a fairytale theme. It makes me wonder how long I have had this idea in my head. I've put those papers aside so that I will flesh them out; hopefully make something of them. Once I've transposed a story from paper into a posted blog I toss out the paper. I do this with great flourish. It feels good. It feels better than crossing out lines on my To-do list.

Big stacks of paper down to little stacks of paper. It's like the leaves that seem to stay on the lawn after raking and bagging up the rest. More will fall from the trees anyway. It's like finding a glass in the living room after doing all the dishes. It's a seed to start the next crop of dishes. I would like a smaller crop.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fireworks of Christmas

Is it Christmas or is it Fireworks? Ah! It's Seattle Downtown on a lovely December Friday Night.I dallied downtown on the way home tonight. Life is good.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pay Day Party and a Dressing Down

My new roommates, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and I had our first successful Pay Day Party. The first one didn't work so well. At least we tried again.

Has anyone ever noticed that talking about money among loved ones is almost certain to cause a little friction, maybe a defensive attitude, maybe a shouting match or slamming doors? Or driving away with the checkbook? Okay, it doesn't get that bad at my house (though it used to). Talking to my daughters about their financial obligations sucks. Either one of them will shut down, or become defensive and leave the room with strained mumblings of, "not today, Mom." They need some assistance, if nothing else, at least in the ability to sit down and look at the figures, hopefully to get in the habit of regular financial maintenance for their lives. In an attempt to instill some life habits I set up the Pay Day Party.

On Pay Day we have a party. It comes with food and drink, a calculator, bank statements (most up to date printed) and bills. The first time I announced a Pay Day Party no one took me serious. And then they got upset because they had other plans to hang out with friends. "Oh, Mom...." the television got turned off as they singularly and together left the house to go "hang out". I tried again.

Last night we had a wonderful, delicious, actually funny time at our party. When I got home from work the television was already turned off. Frozen pizza (baked of course) and a couple shots and then we talked numbers. We talked Christmas gifts (calculator). We talked transportation and food (calculator). We talked old bills hanging over our heads and how to get to the other side (no calculator - just keep it on the back burner, but turn it up, tabled for next time). It was really pretty cool. Everyone has a plan of action for the next week (including me). We will report back at the next Pay Day Party in two weeks on how each of our projects went. There's an implied code of silence between now and then, but I get the feeling the silence will break when the projects get tackled successfully. We'll see. We all sat happy at the table when these lively money conversations became exhausted. Thing 1 said, "Yep, Let's do this again."

And then the girls started in on me. I got a dressing down as I haven't had in quite some time. "Mom, we need to do something about your hair." (I'm between cuts - I don't know if I should keep growing it or not...I dunno) "Mom, can we go shopping for you? You really shouldn't go shopping without a second opinion." "Mom, you're so young - you need to look it. I'm gonna make sure you do." "You've got to update your wardrobe, really. There's stuff there that shouldn't be." Thing 1 comes up behind me and starts telling me how to get my hair cut. "It's too full in the back. Really, let's lighten it up back here. And then the front let's swoop it down this way. It's not meant to be behind your ears. It frames your face beautifully, let's use it this way." She's running her fingers through my hair - re-shaping everything about it.

I was being tag teamed. I was being corralled. There was no stopping it. They were on a roll. I was merely a pawn at the table while they fussed and feathered. Good thing I'd had a few drinks. It was fun, it was loving. Except that this morning I'm feeling a little wounded. Or bruised, or something. I have a maybe-I-should-go-hide, kind of feeling. This is foreign to me.

One should not let two very young, very beautiful ladies tell one what works and what doesn't. What doesn't work is probably what one is doing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm on a Boat

So are Thing 1 and 2 - I'm going to have to beat them with a stick today to get them to send the photos they took of me...(yeah, that would work.) One of my favorite things to do is to ride the ferry across Puget Sound and back. I love the view, the feel of a boat (albeit a big one), the people watching, and the feel of going nowhere - just going.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On a more personal note...

I just had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine. She filled me in on the gossip in our circle of friends. One thing that we talked at length on, that has still caught my imagination, is that people change when they become involved with others. She noted some changes in one friend in particular and I can't help but wonder if the changes we notice aren't a reflection of what these two people wanted in a relationship. Currently, they appear happy with each other, with their lives, with where they are and where they are headed. It's not necessarily what anyone else would have expected of each of them alone, or even of them as a couple. From where I stand it's not my call, but it looks good. I'm happy for them - together and individually.

What has caught my attention is that people do change when they are in a relationship. I have been alone long enough that I am looking forward to the changes that are imminent once I get to share my time, my space and my life. Will the changes be surprising? Probably. Probably surprising to me as well. Will I have to defend my choices? Isn't that an interesting bit? It dawns on me that while I've been alone I only defend myself. I could never do justice in defending one that attaches to me. Isn't it enough that one would be with me? That should be defense enough for any of my friends. It is a strong enough statement, I think, that some one would be by my side - that'd be pretty damn awesome all by itself.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cooking behind the scenes

I've been giving some thoughts to my new blog. I've been reading my favorite blogs and making mental notes on why they are favorites. Many of them are favorites to tens of thousands of people. Hey, how'd they do that? Today I clicked away from some of my favorites with a sense of how easily they wrote, or how easy it was to read. They make it look easy. Yes, there are a couple blogs that work at trying to be engaging or interactive. I generally don't take the bait, but when they are not working the crowd they are delightful.

I've been getting some writing done. I've been looking into themes and wondering how much of the CSS I want to mess with to get a nice page view with the flavor I want to create. I'm cooking, I guess. I'm still getting everything out on the counter - the sugar and flour and baking powder (hmm, must be pancakes). I'm writing and searching, bookmarking and downloading. I've been keeping a paper log of what I mean to accomplish here. One thing I want to accomplish is trusting myself that I can do this.

I don't know at what point I start mixing the ingredients. I don't have all I need yet to assemble this thing. The reveal will be at the end of the month. There...there's the deadline. Oh gawd, I better get moving on this!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Somebody's sister

I talked to my little brother Monday night on the phone while I waited for the bus. I live in Seattle. He lives in Manhattan. My 5:00 pm is his 8:00 pm. I prefer to talk on the phone after I get home for the night. I also prefer to talk to my brother when he is awake. I'm not so good with time management - in that, I have not made a concerted effort to talk to my brother since August. I miss him.

My mother fills me in with the major events in my brother's life. So to hear he has bought a new home is humongous. I heard the news in late October, maybe it was November. I don't know. I just know the kids are doing great and the whole family will be moving to temporary digs while the new place is getting a major overhaul before they move in (seems fixer-upper is an understatement). Thing is we are chatting on the phone yesterday, laughing about moving and up-heavals and discussing the differences between the Webster meaning of "fixer-upper" and Realtor-ese meanings of "fixer-upper" and various other terms. It's no big deal. But, I feel better today. I always feel better after talking to my brothers.

My little brother has been meaning to call me when he read an article in the NYTimes. Tuesday morning he sent me the link. It seems my brother has been meaning to call me since October 25th. Gee Whiz! You'd think we're from the same family!

Oh, that's right...we are.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas at our House

It started when I moved to Wisconsin. Before that, the Christmas tree was put up the week before Christmas. Once I got to Wisconsin it became paramount that the Christmas tree be set up the Friday after Thanksgiving. Then the official date was moved to Thanksgiving Day - preferably while the dishwasher is running and the kitchen only half cleaned up after The Feast. Now that the girls are once again living with me all things from their childhood are being adhered to with more verve than previously. Our Christmas tree is up for an entire month.

Traditionally, on Christmas Eve the lights are left on all night in anticipation of Santa Claus. No other night of the season are the lights left on ALL NIGHT. The trees were always cut trees. From a parental/homeowner point of view I didn't sleep Christmas Eve night for fear the house was going to catch on fire. I mean really by Christmas Eve, a full 28 to 30 day old sitting in water, like that makes a difference, cut tree with a bunch of warm lights just waiting to heat to a level of smoke and spark and we are all doomed. By the time morning, or first light, or earlier than first light, came around and the kids came stampeding down the stairs it was all spectacular and magical and presents and lights and missing milk and cookies and wondrous. As parents we did good work.

Many years ago I bought a boxed tree. I had moved out on my own and getting a boxed tree was the only way I was assured I would have a tree for many years. I was afraid of lean years and the ability to keep the magic flowing. I was being sacrilegious - yet at the time I truly felt I was "stepping out". I love this tree. Now that I have put it up several years in a row it has become somehow important that this tree, this particular boxed tree, should be erected. It's pre-lit - I love that part. It's white - I love that part too. The girls have taken over the construction of the tree. So we have Christmas at our house already this year. The predominant ornament - origami cranes in various colors. Somehow it seems fitting, maybe you have to know me.

The tree is still never lit ALL NIGHT long. That is reserved for the final special night. So this morning when I got up and walked through the apartment to start my coffee and the tree was still on I was a bit taken aback. I left it that way. It makes a good night-light. As the coffee maker started it's gurgling, I headed for the shower. Thing 2, who's bed since she moved in is the couch, opened her eyes and plaintively said to me, "Santa didn't come last night."

Traditions are good. They are stabilizing. They can confuse even the most steady of semi-adults. I kissed Thing 2 on the forehead and told her to check again in 26 days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Time for Changes

I feel compelled to make some blogging changes. I'm having way too much fun with the Fairytales. I'm only posting half of what I'm writing, and I'm only writing a third of what I'm thinking. Fairytales could easily take over this blog. Time to start a new one; a new blog.

I actually have six blogs out there. Strange but true. This and two others are the only ones to get my attention anymore. They only get attention once every couple months or so. I'm thankful for all of them. The other three languish, not wanting to be deleted, but not knowing what, if anything, is to become of them. I feel sorry for the blogs.

I like the options and the ease of Wordpress. So, I'm thinking of linking (I love the sound that makes...say it out loud.) this blog to the new one. I'm thinking of linking into my Facebook page too. I didn't like having this blog linked to Facebook - it took over the whole effing screen and seemed so tasteless and overbearing. There's got to be a better way. Another thought is to have an illustrator for the new blog. The young lady I would like to draw for me draws amazing pen and ink drawings of nature that I would love to share with everyone. Not every story needs a picture...she can just do the ones that she finds compelling. I need to ask her mom if it's okay. I'd need to ask the young lady if she accepts peanuts in exchange for her magnificent art work. My printer may not work, but my scanner does. And then there's the matter of putting her name and the blog link embedded into the illustration. I'm sure it's a pretty routine matter, I've just not looked into it before. It dawns on me I know another illustrator. I wonder...would he be interested? huh...

I don't even know what to call the new blog. Of course, I want something clever. And I want something memorable. Mostly I want to call it what it is, something obvious or something that will become obvious. I just don't know what the obvious is right now.

Mostly, right now I'd like to take my time and do some designing and some preperatory work so that once I start posting I'm happy with it already. I'd like to get some stories ready, some illustrations and a posting schedule (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday? or...). Maybe an unveiling in January. It is nice to have a fun project for the new year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Woodsman's Son

The pixie landed this time on his nose. He couldn’t slap at it like the others. Annoyed and scowling he swatted it away. The lad had come down to the river banks to cool off. The mountain stream swept through his quiet valley here and the snow melt of the river cooled the banks during the hot days.

The lad had been chopping wood with his father all day. The trees had been felled generations ago by the giant up in the mountains. A great pile of firs and pines had been left stacked indiscriminately next to a great clearing. The trees had been abandoned during the lad’s grandfather’s life and were well dried and would do well for furniture and building. The clearing was large enough for a small giant mansion. The lad had been awestruck at the enormity when his father, the woodcutter, put him to work.

The day had been long and grueling. Once the woodcutter and his son had filled the cart and cut enough to fill the cart again tomorrow the woodcutter and his son had set off for home. Mother had sent him down to the river bank to cool off and clean up. Wading out into the crisp water had shocked his senses into numbness and the lad had dipped quickly into the water wetting his hair but not scrubbing as his mother had requested. Getting quickly out of the water the lad laid on the grass along the river bank and allowed the sun and the light breeze to dry him.
“I must’ve dozed off.” Thought the lad as the first pixie alighted on his knee cap and gently, but annoyingly woke him. He slapped at his knee yet kept his eyes shut as the sun was high and bright and he did not want to get up yet.

The pixie flitted away and a small laughter reached the lad’s ears. In fact it sounded as if there were many laughters. The pixies were in fact sitting here and there all along the riverbank on flowers and old wooden stumps. When their wings were not beating it was hard to see them. The young man sat up upon swatting the pixie from his nose. Pixies flew close to his face and smiled into his eyes. He smiled back. It’s hard not to smile when pixies smile at you.

As the pixies suspended themselves in mid-air in front of the lad they started to chatter among themselves. They danced in mid-air then lighted onto the lad’s hair and onto his shoulders. It was confusing to the lad and pestering. He swatted at the pixies to get them out of his hair and off of his shoulders. The pixies thought this great fun and flitted about the young man – sometimes dancing, always laughing and more full of energy than any human has ever had.

The lad, though annoyed, was pleased to have been found by the pixies. Everyone knows they will pick away your worries and your pains and the young man had been feeling both. The pixies made him smile and though he couldn’t understand what they said he knew they like him. He liked them too; as long as they didn’t land on him.

The pixies seemed to know this. They swirled and danced and laughed together but not in unison. As he sat on the banks of the cold clear river the pixies entertained themselves to his delight. As they danced near his feet one pixie then another lighted on the tips of his toes making the lad laugh too. He was no longer annoyed. He enjoyed their light touch even if it tickled. And his toes felt newly clean, light and full of energy.

The pixies entertained themselves with their dancing and fluttering around the lad, occasionally landing on his knees or his shoulders or his fingertips or elbows. The lad grew happier and felt cleaner and lighter than ever before in his short life. The pixies landed on his ears and again in his hair and the lad finally had to stand up for all the playful swatting he was doing to manage the pixies.

Feeling wonderful, the lad decided to go home. He left the river bank walking back to the road between villages to start on his way back into the forest and home.

The lad saw the sky was bluer; he felt the wind even though it was so very light. The trees smelled more pine-y and the pine needles crunched louder under his feet. Everything felt clearer, more alive than before. Along the road came a pretty cart with a smart horse and driver. It was a cart with three children riding in the back among fresh hay, swinging their legs as the cart road past the lad. One boy jumped off the cart and walked back to the Woodcutter's Son on the road as if they were long lost friends. And well they may have been. They started up a conversation in no time about the river and the road, leading on to other subjects as good friends will do.

The driver of the cart stopped for some time to allow the boy and his new found friend time to catch up.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giant Rocks

Now, boys and girls, last time we saw the Giant he was sitting among the pile of rocks at the bottom of the landslide he had created when he slipped down the side of the mountain. He knew he was getting closer to the sound of prayers and music and maidens. He was also getting confused on which thing he was hearing. He was getting tired too. It is not good to have a Giant in one’s midst that is tired and confused.

Giants are very big, and can be very powerful and do not know their own strength. It is good that this Giant was not near anyone we know. But, the day was not easy on this Giant. As he got up, dusted off his britches and continued on his way along the path. The Giant soon found the path was blocked by the most stubborn boulder. The Giant tried to push the boulder out of the way. It would not budge. He pushed with all his might. Then the Giant tried to go around the boulder but it was overgrown with terrible thorny thickets. The Giant knew he needed to get through. He knew the sound of prayers and the oceans and maidens was on the other side of this boulder.

In desperation The Giant ripped up a tree and like a lever he stuck the tree under the side of the boulder. He tried to heave the rock forward. He tried to dig under the boulder to loosen it’s grip on the earth. The Giant tried again to get leverage with his stick, his tree trunk, to roll the boulder to the side. The boulder would not move.

The Giant was angry. He was frustrated and confused. He was scared that the sounds, the music and the prayers, would go away and leave him on this foreign hill with no direction of where to go. That Giant got terrible, furious raging mad. He started to beat at the boulder. He heaved that tree upon the rock with all his might, with all his pent up frustration. He beat and beat on the boulder. The Giant thrashed about and hit the rock again and again. As he raged upon the rock his voice called forth all the rage he felt inside. The deep growls, and careening angry tones poured from the Giant as he allowed all that angered his heart to be spent on this rock. The growling and howls filled the canyon below the Giant and echoed back to him in great depths of despair. He had never been so mad, so frustrated, so lost.

The rock broke. The boulder split.

The giant sat down and cried. He cried his relief that the boulder had split in half, like walnut shells. He cried relief that he had raged against the rock. He cried in shame that he had cried. A small stream began at the Giants feet. The stream carried the Giants tears down the hill.

When the Giant got to his feet he walked toward the boulder that was now in two pieces, as if two turtles has rolled onto their backs. The Giant was going to walk between the two halves to continue on his journey to the Sounds. What he saw stopped him in his tracks. Each half of the boulder carried treasure beyond even the Giants enormous imagination. The Boulder halves glinted in the sunshine, more full of sparking jewels than the most brilliant geode. The Boulder was full of crystals, and diamonds, emeralds and rubies. Garnets and even strings of pearls and blue lapis (a most unusual sight) were all jumbled together in the rock halves. The Giant put his hands into the rock and pulled out great loads of treasure. Nowhere had he expected his anger and his frustrations to break so heavy a rock. Nowhere had he expected such riches be laid before him upon the breaking. The Giant stuffed his pockets with the gems and pearls. It was only a couple handfuls out of the enormous pits of jewels that was the inside of the rock.

Shaking his head in disbelief and in wonder and in surprise the Giant walked between the rock halves and wandered his way down the mountains to find the beautiful sounds that yet filled his ears.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Redeeming Bus Rides

Bus rides...usually my favorite time of day. I get serious meditations done. I get eye candy with all the activities going on outside the bus windows. I get novels read. After the bus ride from hell on Monday night - six and half hours of gridlock, icy road conditions, 27 mile an hour sideways blowing snow and no book to delve into - I wasn't too keen on getting on the bus tonight. Bus riding has been redeemed. Just have to get back on the horse and ride, so to speak.

The young lady sitting next to me was wholly interesting. Youth. Youth has a great optimism otherwise forgotten over time. Really, the conversation was nothing. We discussed the virtues of crock-pots and having friends over for dinner, for no damn reason. We got onto the subject of work. She's in training to be a psychiatrist. She's working while she works on her masters (as everyone is here in this town). I don't know what possessed me to tell her something I truly believe. People want two things - to be recognized; to know they've been seen, acknowledgement if you will and they want to be heard: listen, just hear them out, listen to the whole story without interruption or judgement. I get a lot of thank you's at work for just letting these people tell me their troubles. I can't do much about it. But, I let them talk. And I listen. Esther had not heard it put this way before. Is she that young? Maybe. I could see she was putting the ideas into her head for future use - whatever that may be.

Between you and I, at home, I appreciate those times of comfortable silence among the people I love. Then I know all is well. I wonder if I gauge life's contentment in those moments of silence. If one is compelled to be silent does that mean one is content? Maybe that's what I seek. Is this too Zen? It is pleasant, regardless.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If Hell freezes over...

It will look like Seattle yesterday.

I've searched YouTube this morning already. During my six and a half hour bus ride home from work yesterday - got on the downtown bus at 5:17 p.m., got off the bus at the Park and Ride at 11:48 p.m. - the bus driver asked for volunteers to push the bus to get us up a slight incline so we could get on the parkway (oh, I mean freeway). "Anybody wanna push?" We all laughed with the bus driver. Then he said, "I'm serious." and opened the back door. About 15 or 20 young men unloaded from the bus and went around back to push. It was making a difference - believe it or not. (Twenty young men pushing a massive articulated bus, this still blows my mind.) But not enough of a difference.

The driver then said, "Anyone wanna move to the back of the bus? We need some weight over the back tires." I left my seat, I had felt so lucky to actually have a seat, and stood over the rear tires with so many others on the bus. I watched a young man put his hat under the rear tire to give some traction. It actually helped. Out the other side of the bus I saw two young men standing in the sideways sleeting snow filming the event on their phones.

I'll keep searching YouTube. It's got to show up eventually.

(Yes, I got my seat back. Yes, we got going and the young men had to run up to the ever slow moving bus to jump back on board. Yes, I am staying home today. I had enough yesterday.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Can you find me?

My recent foray into authordom can be read at...

And a press release is here...

Every bit counts. It all adds up. And it was fun to write.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


And so the Old Woman came home to put the flowers on her table and the finishing touches to her saucepans before her guests arrived for dinner. Earlier in the day she had swept the broken floorboards and set the small wooden table for the meal she was to share. On the way home she had stepped off the path to pick some flowers. The Old Woman had not wanted to be seen picking flowers like some maiden. Though the village was far away she did not want to hear the ridicule that would come to pass if she were seen as frolicking or otherwise not behaving. The flowers just off the path and into the woods were vibrant with blue and yellow and the Old Woman could not help but smile as she gathered these flowers to adorn her meager table.

The Old Woman turned to walk back to the path and go along on her way home. A sprite flew in front of the Old Woman and blocked her way. The Old Woman blushed to be found in the woods with her hand-picked flowers, even by a sprite. The sprite hovered in front of the woman and smiled back, “Where are you going Old Woman, with my cousins in blue and my neighbors in yellow? Where would you take my friends and family?”

The Old Woman was surprised to hear the sprite talking to her. She was even more surprised to hear the flowers she had picked would be the friends and relatives of a sprite. “The flowers are so lovely. I wanted to bring them to my cottage to grace my table tonight as I have friends and relatives too that are coming to share a meal with me this very day.” The Old Woman began to gather up the flowers in her basket to hand them back to the sprite. Though the Old Woman was not sure how a sprite would re-plant what she had picked, she was nonetheless willing to believe the sprite would want her friends and family returned.

The sprite was quite pleased with the Old Woman’s response. “Please keep the flowers as they are picked for your table, and Grace is their middle name. Yet, know this that if you will take my cousins and my neighbors to enjoy your meal, then you will have no problem accepting myself and my sisters to enjoy your meal as well.”

The Old Woman became nervous. She had few dishes prepared and only a bit of tea to share with the guests she had already invited. The Old Woman was not sure what a sprite should eat, but she was trying to remember if any sugar was in the larder, or if any cream had been put by in the morning. She spoke as clearly as she could to the sprite. “I have so very little to offer you or your sisters. There will be only mortals as old as I for guests and we are set in our ways. I am sure I have not enough food to fill your bellies, nor enough interesting conversations to set to your ears. If you will still come, you are welcome, but I know not what I can feed you. I am sorry I cannot offer more. I am most grateful for the flowers and I thank you. I am sure you will not wish to come.”

The Old Woman hurried back to the path with her basket of flowers. She looked out over the wooded landscape wondering how many sprites had seen her, and how many sisters a sprite can have. The Old Woman saw no sprites, or fairies, or elves. She saw lovely blue flowers vibrant in the shadows of the tall thick trees. She saw broken expanses of yellow flowers almost bright enough to make sun rise from the forest floor. She was glad of all the relatives and neighbors that flourished in the wood. The Old Woman then hurried home. Her guests would be arriving soon.

The Old Woman had found an earthen jar to place the flowers in. They graced her table quiet agreeably. The Old Woman opened her door for the Seamstress and her daughter, the Woodsman and the Sawyer. They enjoyed a small meal together and spoke of weather and of passings. As the dishes emptied and were put by to wash, and the tea was served the Old Woman heard a tap, tap, tapping at the window. She saw the glowing light that a sprite will shine in the dark when it is happy. The Old Woman was aghast that all the food was eaten and she and her guests were already enjoying the end of the meal cup of tea. She had hoped the sprite would understand she had so very little to offer that the sprite would not come.

The Old Woman excused herself from her guests and went to the window and opened it for the sprite. In washed a handful of sprites. They filled the room with their glow and their laughter. The Seamstress and her daughter looked up from their tea and smiled at the sprites then smiled to each other. What a lovely surprise. The Woodsman and the Sawyer stood up as the sprites flittered into the room. They did not know where they should go or if the sprites were nuisance or guest. The Old Woman was surprised and smiled in spite of herself to see her guests were shocked and amused by the change in their evening. The Old Woman assured the Woodsman and the Sawyer to take their seats and enjoy their tea for as long as they wish. Though the Old Woman offered, the sprites would take no thimble full of tea, nor would they take the bit of crust, for this was all the Old Woman had left to offer.

Yet, the sprites fluttered about the room and lit upon the table laughing together and merrily dancing around the tea cup of the Seamstress and her daughter. The Old Woman’s guests heartily enjoyed the entertainment and clapped along as the sprites sang. Eventually, the Woodsman invited the Seamstress’s daughter to dance along. The sprites glad to have a merry spirit join them circled around the room lighting the corners and the ceiling as all the guests, and the Old Woman too, took to the broken floorboards and danced for a tune or two. The sprites shared their laughter and their smiles. They played merry songs and told jokes for everyone. The evening came on and the dinner party stayed late without a single candle being lit. The sprites lit up the room more than any candle could.

At long last the Seamstress and her daughter, happy and full and tired, excused themselves to go home. The Woodsman and the Sawyer excused themselves to walk the ladies home. The Old Woman hugged them all and bade them a good walk and a lovely night. As the door shut behind her guests the Old Woman turned to see her small cottage bright and cheerful. The blue and yellow flowers seemed to smile from her table. Her heart was full. Her house was haven. Her friends were family. The sprites gently flew up to the Old Woman one by one and each quickly kissed her on the cheek then flew back out the window into the night. As the last sprite left and the cottage was dark the Old Woman closed the window and standing before the window stuck the match to light her candle. In the glow of the candle her window made a mirror. The Old Woman saw a young maiden staring back at her, and smiled.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lectures by Authors

I hope the line for my book signing looks like this.
(Time for me to write the book, eh?)
Mike Dooley personalizing his lastest book.
Manifesting Change
I like Mike for his daily "Notes from the Universe". I suggest signing up for his e-mails. They really are delicious. The book came with the sign up. I came to see Mike. As far as speakers go, I would come to see him speak again.

Homecoming has changed

I stayed downtown last night after work for a lecture and book signing. It was wonderful. I'm glad to get away for a little entertainment - interactive and all. I didn't get home until quarter to ten. I jumped on a late bus from downtown to take me to the nearest Park & Ride near home. It was late. I left the house at six a.m. and by then it was almost ten p.m. as I stood under the non-shelter waiting for my daughters to swing through to pick me up.

I watched the truck pull into the lot and the headlamps do the quick blinding thing. I smiled because they are here. I smiled because I can see they are both in the truck. May opened the passenger door to swap seats to the back. Except she didn't. She stood there in front of me and said, "You are so beautiful. I am so glad you're my mom." I can hear April from the driver's seat laughing at her sister's randomness. May, still chattering on as she got back into the truck said, "They say if you want to know what you will look like when you get older just look at your parents. I am so lucky. You really are beautiful, Mom."

For that moment while I am taking my seat and shutting the door to the truck I felt absolutely beautiful. I've always known my children were beautiful. Last night I got a taste of it.

What I really coming home. My girls make coming home more than it was while I lived alone. They really are beautiful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It matters

To quote a site I enjoy reading:

"I should also mention that dark matter is a favourite target of science skeptics. However, it is often overlooked that the central thesis of the postulate is about not making an assumption i.e. just because the ordinary matter that we are familiar with can be seen, we should not assume that all matter can be seen..and science is very much a game of making as few assumptions as possible. " (My emphasis.) Antimatter Blog

God, I love this stuff!! I'm counting on that theory to be right. I love finding these quotes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I like this Idea

I wish I were an eccentric multi-billionaire. I would fund this. Heck, I'd sign up to go! Why is this any different than sailing a ship off the edge of the earth? (without radio or any kind of ship-to-shore for that matter) At least now some interaction with home is available. These are the thoughts that fuel dreams...

PULLMAN, Wash. – Invoking the spirit of "Star Trek" in a scholarly article entitled "To Boldly Go," two scientists contend human travel to Mars could happen much more quickly and cheaply if the missions are made one-way. They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return.

"The main point is to get Mars exploration moving," said Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University, who wrote the article in the latest "Journal of Cosmology" with Paul Davies of Arizona State University. The colleagues state — in one of 55 articles in the issue devoted to exploring Mars — that humans must begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe on Earth.

Mars is a six-month flight away, possesses surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water, carbon dioxide and essential minerals. They propose the missions start by sending two two-person teams, in separate ships, to Mars. More colonists and regular supply ships would follow.
The technology already exists, or is within easy reach, they wrote.

An official for NASA said the space agency envisions manned missions to Mars in the next few decades, but that the planning decidedly involves round trips.

President Obama informed NASA last April that he "`believed by the mid-2030s that we could send humans to orbit Mars and safely return them to Earth. And that a landing would soon follow,'" said agency spokesman Michael Braukus.

No where did Obama suggest the astronauts be left behind.

"We want our people back," Braukus said.

Retired Apollo 14 astronaut Ed Mitchell, who walked on the Moon, was also critical of the one-way idea.

"This is premature," Mitchell wrote in an e-mail. "We aren't ready for this yet."

Davies and Schulze-Makuch say it's important to realize they're not proposing a "suicide mission."

"The astronauts would go to Mars with the intention of staying for the rest of their lives, as trailblazers of a permanent human Mars colony," they wrote, while acknowledging the proposal is a tough sell for NASA, with its intense focus on safety.
They think the private sector might be a better place to try their plan.
"What we would need is an eccentric billionaire," Schulze-Makuch said. "There are people who have the money to put this into reality."

Indeed, British tycoon Richard Branson, PayPal founder Elon Musk and Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos are among the rich who are involved in private space ventures.

Isolated humans in space have long been a staple of science fiction movies, from "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" to "2001: A Space Odyssey" to a flurry of recent movies such as "Solaris" and "Moon." In many of the plots, the lonely astronauts fall victim to computers, madness or aliens.
Psychological profiling and training of the astronauts, plus constant communication with Earth, will reduce debilitating mental strains, the two scientists said.

"They would in fact feel more connected to home than the early Antarctic explorers," according to the article.

But the mental health of humans who spent time in space has been extensively studied. Depression can set in, people become irritated with each other, and sleep can be disrupted, the studies have found. The knowledge that there is no quick return to Earth would likely make that worse.

Friday, November 12, 2010


An article I wrote back in August for publication has been accepted. It's a paying gig. Doesn't pay much - in fact it's not the pay part that has me doing cartwheels. It's the acceptance!

I am so hopelessly human. How wonderful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Giant Sounds - Giant Songs - Giant Prayers

Once upon a time a great Giant heard the lovely sound of the seashore, or the sound of voices singing, or many men in prayer. He could not figure out what his ears were hearing. He looked up from his chore of ripping fresh young 100 year old trees out of the ground. The birds looked up at The Giant to see what was different. The worms and beetles that had come uncovered during the tree ripping quickly skittered into the earth. This beautiful noise The Giant heard wafted with the wind, a sound for his ears, as light as the smell of mountain flowers in the breeze. The Giant turned his head to his left. The sound continued to grace his ears. He turned his head to the right and he found the sound washed into his ears even stronger. The giant left his tools and the pile of tree trunks. He stumbled up the mountain along the ruts and rocks and went in search of this great comforting noise that blew in his ears. After many hours and a scraped knee, The Giant sat down on a boulder to catch his breath and to listen for the sound of the ocean or the singing or the prayers. It sounded closer, but still wafted with the wind and nowhere near in sight.

The Great Giant heaved his heavy body up from his rocky seat and and lumbered further on reaching the upper ridge of the mountains he had always lived among. He could see down one side of the mountain and see the cabins his giant neighbors had built. He could see the clearing of trees he was working on. The Giant could also see down the other side of the mountain. There he saw a steep and treacherous incline . The slope appeared to end abruptly and harshly in craggy cliffs and pounding waves of a frothy, heaving, incessant sea. The Giant stared off into the distance. His eyes were full of things he had never seen before. His ears were trying to hear the songs he heard.

The Giant stepped off the ridge and started lumbering very carefully and very slowly down the rocky, steep and treacherous side of the mountain. He held onto tall pines and fir trees to keep him from stumbling. They bent and swayed in his hands unable to offer more than a minimum of stability to The Giant's decent. The Giant kept looking up over the tree tops to see if he could tell where the prayers were coming from. As he had left the top of the mountain the wind had died down and the chanting, mantra, prayer of the song was coming steadily up the mountain to accompany his decent.

When The Giant had seen the cliffs and the water and the crashing waves into the rock walls, he had hoped it was the sound of the waves he heard. He wanted to get to the sea to bask in the glory of this great power of the waves. As he descended and the song had become more regular, or regulated, he decided it was the sound of monks in great droves at great prayer. The Giant hoped to come across the immense conclave this must be coming from. He wanted to envelope himself in the greatness of this divinity. The Giant continued his slow careful steps down the mountain, turning here and there to go around denser groves of trees and to find better footing without the sharp rocks and boulders that rolled under his soft animal skin shoes.

Every once in a while in the turns and twists of his trail the trees became taller and the wind died down more than otherwise and the song in his ears was a love song. It was a love song sung by maidens whose voices carried without direction, without knowledge. It was definitely sung by maidens. They sang without pretense, they sang. It was a pure song. The singers were without affectation, without knowledge of reserve. They sang. It is here that The Giant's face popped up to attention as he heared these notes. His eyes widened and he knew he must find these maidens. He must find these songs. His heart yearned to fill his eyes and his ears with this song and these singers.

He slipped on the patch of rocks at his feet and his giant bum hit the ground. His hand slipped from the tree top he was holding to steady himself and he skidded down the mountain to where the erosion pooled in a lumpy puddle of rocks. And the songs came louder. He sat among the rocks and boulders trying to listen around the continued sound of more rocks rolling down behind and around him that finished the landslide he had started. He could hear the prayers as they melded into waves on the rocky shore and then the singers, ever faint, reached his ears. He knew he had come closer. He could hear it. As quietly as a giant can, he got up and turned where he stood to find the best direction to head out to meet the monks, to see the sea and to gaze upon the singers.

This sound cannot be one source, thought The Giant. But, the sounds come and they go, they become one and then part away, they are not the same yet they are, thought The Giant. He did not want to be confused. He wanted to see the sound. He wanted to see the sound to clear his head, to add a vision to what his heart was hearing.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Castro is my friend

Mr. Castro first Facebooked me a month ago. I was intrigued that he knew so much about my early years; where I grew up, what I was like in my twenties. He has the usual Castro black and white photo as a "profile" pic (see above - I lifted it from FB). It was just eery that a man near on his deathbed, in perfect colloquial english would know me.

OH! my's not Fidel. It's a buddy of my dad. Different guy. It's still eery how much he remembers.

PS: Anyone know how to fix a sewing machine?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Giant Hallways

She works in a City of Giants. Each day she alights from the tram, smiles at the conductor and walks the path to the mountain. She descends the stairs down into the mountain. Each day she ascends the stairs on the inside the mountain. Each day she turns the corner at the the Giant Plaza and let's the giant at the door open it for her. It is a big door. A giant door. She cannot reach the handle. He closes it after she has gone inside. She is not a giant. She is small, and her feet tap like birds feet on the stone hallways. She necessarily steps aside as Giants go past. She walks quickly but it takes a long time to traverse the hallways among giants.

Sometimes the giants are talking as she enters another hallway or passes a cave inside the mountain. Their voices reverberate on the mountain walls above her. They all hush up as she walks past. Their faces follow her as her little steps seem to scurry her past them. Then they start to talk again, the hollow mountain echoing overhead with deep voices.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Housing Update...

I looked at the house again and really, the kitchen has no counter top to speak of. I'm not sure it would fit a coffee pot AND a microwave. Room to cut vegetables too? I dunno...maybe I'll hold out for the house in Kingston (a ferry ride a way) and find a job I can work from home. Hahaha...

In the meantime, I should wash some windows here. I might feel better.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And now a word from our Poet Laureate

Without her permission, Kay Ryan, one of America's Poet Laureate's poems...

The Other Shoe

Oh if it were
only the other
shoe hanging
in space before
joining its mate.

My prayer for you then is - may your shoes drop in the preferred order.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Honor Of Halloween

A Great Site:

Today’s tomb belongs to sculptor Barney Bright, who reminds us all: death need not bring an end to the beautiful and life affirming process of doing it doggy style with a hot young chick. (Photo by Holly Crisler. Thanks, Holly!)

Today’s tomb belongs to sculptor Barney Bright, who reminds us all: death need not bring an end to the beautiful and life affirming process of doing it doggy style with a hot young chick.

(Photo by Holly Crisler. Thanks, Holly!)


Reasons I want the rental house I saw a week ago...

Photo Credit:
Beautiful site. I highly suggest a visit.

The house and yard are yearning for me to make Rock Towers. The rooms are aching to be blessed. The garage wants cars parked in it. The yard is waiting for me to rake it. The windows want me to wash them. And the bus stop is only a block away.


I've spent the evening cleaning out a box labeled Photo Crafting and I am inspired to get rolling again creatively. I found a photo taken at a Scrapbook Convention back in the day (?) when I was with Romar. The photo is of me in front of the DIY Channel cameras demonstrating the Kaleidoscope Kit I had pulled together (goodness, I was chunky). While the spot ended up on the cutting room floor, it was still a peak moment for me. I pulled the photo out of the box and taped it up on the wall next to my Marathon Bib numbers. I'll be keeping my eyes open for the four color brochure of the Sugar Eggs I made for Easter/Spring. I ran that business for three (maybe four?) years. It didn't make much money. But, I was in the black for two of those years. It's time for another great moment.

I know, I know, I've got quilts to finish and a book that's two thirds done. I just finished the book for my mom of our travels in Europe we took a couple years ago. Like I don't have enough on my plate. But, when I am creatively excited life is just so much more interesting. I still want a guitar again. And it looks like I'll be moving. I still need a job to keep a roof over my head...

It's one o'clock in the morning. I don't stay up this late unless something is interesting enough to hold my attention. There was a time when my job was this interesting. There was a time when I was working my own business this late into the night. Tonight is was paper. Just little three inch squares of paper. They look so cool now that I've fussed and folded and mooshed them all together!

I just want to know...where's my trust fund? I do get tired of spending my nights completing job applications.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

it just takes one

Amazing how one person's off-hand comment can change my whole motivation. At work, at this blog, on the bus, in prayer...everything is affected. And that person doesn't even matter in the overall scheme of things. So why the h-e-double-hockey-sticks does that one remark stop me in my tracks? I deleted it from the mail on Monday...but, I seem to still be carrying it.

Time to set it down now. Whoops, didn't mean to carry it this far. [pat it on the head to be good now, and walk away.]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Baron's Supper

Walking in the woods of the Great Undiscovered Forest a maiden, tired, hungry and alone came upon a Woodsman on the path. He saw her plight and recommended to her a small cottage just beyond the curve of the path. "Go there. Be warmed and fed. You will feel better." They each went on their way.

It was a small cottage dwarfed by giant evergreens and lush ferns. The maiden was thankful to see it was such a lovely cottage. The windows shined out a glowing light of warmth from inside. As she approached the door swung open slowly on silent hinges. No one was about, yet the maiden entered on the advise of the Woodsman.

Inside a fire crackled in the hearth. A table was set quite simply for supper. The maiden sat at the table, glad for the chair. Suddenly wondrous light shown from nowhere and the cottage became a castle banquet hall. Servants in bright, crisp dress with efficient, friendly manner loaded the table, now seven times the size it had been, with fruits and meats, wine and water. They continued to bring all manner of dishes and drinks. Candles appeared along the length of the table. Lush flower arrangements interspersed with the wealth of food that filled the expanse.

The maiden found herself no longer alone. At the other end of the table a Baron, full proud of all that was laid before them, had come to sup with the maiden. He merely smiled at the maiden as the food and mead continued to be brought on. A fine linen napkin was unfolded onto the maiden's lap. Then the staff silently moved to the walls of the great hall to wait.

The maiden had never seen a finer spread. She had never been attended so completely. The food and drink, the crystal and silver all looked sumptuous and bright.

"Please eat." said the Baron.

The maiden took up the fine silver fork laid beside her and gratefully began to eat. The first butter laden glistening bite of beautiful morsel was good. Yet, she was surprised at the lack of flavor the food provided. Her brow furrowed ever so slightly. An attendant left the wall and took away the dish. She was served another dish, this one of tender melting meat. As she took a bite, sure this dish would be resplendent with flavor, she was again surprised at the lack of taste. To hide her dismay she took a quick sip of water. But the attendants had seen it was not to her liking. One took away the dish. Another brought on a new plate. The maiden wishing not to offend her host looked to the attendants and gestured not to take her plates. It's not that they were bad, they just had held such promise in their steaming buttery or fresh oven smells that the lack of full flavor was surprising. The maiden silently wondered, "Is it simply a lack of salt?"

She tried several more dishes and for each one she was unable to hide her disappointment. At each one the attendants carted off the offending food and brought a replacement. Though the candles burned bright and the great hearth flickered warmth, the food was want. At each bite the maiden became more and more convinced a simple remedy could be had. Yet, she saw no salt upon the table. And there was no talking from the Baron or his servants to make an inquiry.

The Baron appeared pleased to have a partner for his meal. He smiled as she tasted each bite, but he said nothing. Nor did he seem to notice she was not able to take a second bite of anything laid before her. She was grateful for the meal, but searching for something, any dish, to compliment the Baron's surely fine chefs.

One by one the marvelous foods were removed from the table. As each plate was taken the room grew dimmer. The table grew smaller. The flowers and the candles simply disappeared from the shrinking table. The maiden wanted to try no more dishes. She did not want to continue the offense surely she must be causing. As the table shrank the Baron grew closer. Finally the maiden spied just at the Baron's elbow a small salt cellar filled with white sparkling crystals, with a fine small silver spoon. This caused her to smile. The attendant, misunderstanding her smile, let her finish the dish in front of her. She smiled to know there was salt on the table. She smiled to know a simple remedy was at hand. As she finished her plate it was taken away and another dish was laid before her.

The maiden looked expectantly at the Baron hoping to gain his attention so that she could speak. He smiled at her and waved his fork in good cheer then looked back to his plate to assess his next bite. He was chewing quite loudly, though proper, and did not hear the maiden clear her throat.

An attendant served her ices and sweets to balance the meal. Coffee and warm chocolates were brought. They were good and charmed the maiden with their sweetness. The meal was winding down. The maiden enjoyed what was left of the flowers and candles that were left on the now small table.

It appeared time to leave. The maiden refolded the napkin from her lap and set it beside her on the table. Her journey, it appeared, was waiting for her outside in the Great Undiscovered Forest. There was no reason to stay for any more dishes if she could help it. Here the Baron looked up startled at the maiden making ready to leave.

"Will you not stay for more?" he asked.

"Nay." she spoke most politely to conceal her dismay for the meal. "My travels await me outside your door. I am comforted with your banquet, but I fear I may be imposing on your good graces to stay. I am most honored to be included in your supper. "

"You did not enjoy the meal? Was everything not as you wished?"

"Oh fine sir, the food offered was most resplendent. I have never been so well attended. Forgive me for speaking plainly, it was want for a few grains of salt to make it pleasing for my taste. I mean you no disrespect. Only that I may continue my journey now as the meal has come to an end."

"Salt?! You would throw away a fine meal with attendants and warmth and attention to every detail but one? You entered my fine hall to find fault with this offering? Salt? A few grains of salt is the bane of all this?!" The Baron swept his arms aside to take in the great hall and fine array. His elbow there toppled the salt cellar off of the table. The fine small silver spoon clinking on the stones and the grains of salt sizzled as they bounced from the floor and spread at the Baron's feet.

The maiden tried to rise gracefully from her seat. Her face was burning in contrition at being so discourteous and ill-mannered before the Baron. She wondered at herself. Who was she to not be grateful for all that was offered? Yet, she wanted no more bland food offered with no banter and nay, without a few grains of salt now lying strewn about the floor at the Baron's feet. He, in turn, stomped over the once clean white grains as he pounded in disgust from the hall.

The maiden turned to leave, ashamed for her unkind words. The great hall was once again the simple small cottage room she had first entered. She stayed a moment to regain her composure by the warmth of the small crackling fire in the hearth.

"I do not know at what moment during the magnificent meal I would have been allowed to ask for that which was missing." she consoled herself silently. "Nowhere during the meal was I asked if what I was offered was to my liking. I know that what was offered should have filled and satisfied me beyond question. But, no one questioned anyway."

Having no means to make amends the maiden left the cottage, quietly closing the door behind her. The Baron, now looking more like the Woodsman he was, stood on the Great Forest path just outside the cottage. He was waiting for the maiden.

"Thank you for coming." he said. He leaned toward the maiden and gave her a most lovely kiss. It tasted salty.

Family Challenges

My little brother has e-mailed me the challenge. He made it clear that this is serious business. Actually, he posted it to me as a "Dare" (as in double-dog-dare me.). This was a little daunting when I first read it. (Little Brother - hahaha, damn that's funny. He's a full foot taller at least.)

The challenge, the dare, the project - should I decide to accept...gain entrance to the Suzzalo Library on the University of Washington campus. Pshaw! Easy-Peasy...I'm in, dude! Will send photos, so there!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welcome to the Metro Fitness Program

As is my usual MO when I see my bus coming I break into a jog. Somehow just seeing my bus, well, it’s hard to not want to catch it. I have the morning schedule worked out. If I leave the house at 6:10 am I don’t need to run for the bus. I don’t need to stand around the kiosk for very long either. Once I get into downtown I have to keep my eyes open. If Mr. M got on the bus when I did then it takes some additional time to load and unload the scooter that is his wheelchair (damn, those scooters are fast). If Mr. M is not riding the bus then I can get an earlier connection, but not always.
Coming home is a completely different game. I never get out of the building the same time twice. The buses going past work at the end of the day are more erratic than those in the morning. The schedule is posted at the bus stop; but we all know that is for show and has no basis in reality.
Yesterday I was strolling on the sidewalk after work making my way to the bus stop when I see my bus coming up the street toward me. I’m on the wrong side of the street and I have at least a half a block to go before I get to the designated stop. I start jogging. I cross the street and jog a little faster. I come up to the bus waiting for me at this point and the driver says, “There’s one trouble maker every day. You must be it.”
I pay my fare and hoping I am in good snappy retort mode I reply, “Nah, I’m just trying to get my exercise in.”
“Ah, you’ve joined the Metro Fitness Program. Good to have you on board.”
Some drivers are good with the comebacks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That Chick Lying Under the Glass

A prince comes upon a princess in the woods. She is doing the Sleeping Beauty thing with the glass casket and all. This is all straight out of some Disney flick. He gazes. He sighs. He walks away. We think he’s Prince Charming. We don’t know who she is.

Every night, every single night, he comes to gaze on her in the moonlight. He brings a sandwich sometimes and hangs out while he chows down. Sometimes he talks to the glass as if it’s a conversation. Sometimes he crawls up on the glass enclosure and lies down and stares at the stars. During the day he attends to matters of state, to matters of the stable, to matters of such and one. No one would know he’s spending his nights hanging out in the forest staring at some chick encased in glass. Every night he gazes on the princess. Even he doesn’t know why.

The princess in the meantime is getting bed sores. She’s been lying there for god knows how long. So, one day she feels the shadow of the prince fall upon her and as the shadow lifts she peeks out one eye to see what’s what. So, Hey! It’s a guy. And he keeps coming back. After a couple weeks of this she is beginning to wonder what he’s doing. He leaves bread crumbs. He climbs on top of her glass house and smooshes his back and butt into the glass and then just lays there for a couple hours. Some nights he just starts his lips moving and he walks around and around the glass case. He’s starting to leave a trail.

She peeks out every now and then to see if anything is happening. For her sake, she wonders if this guy is ever going to lift the glass and see what happens? Does he know all she needs is a kiss and the world becomes roses? What would she say if she could? During the day she cannot help herself. She cries hot lava flows of tears. Her frustration soars. The tears in the meantime have nowhere to go. In the heat of the glass casket the salt is leeched out and the tears become crystals that heat even more and become diamonds. These damn diamonds start to fill the glass case she lies in. After a while it’s getting pretty hard to see the chick in the glass case as she is getting overrun by this sparkly stuff that refracts the light and makes her image pretty sketchy.

This prince is showing up every evening and every evening it’s getting harder and harder to see this chick. He’s beginning to wonder what he is even looking at. Finally, Mr. Charming with the sandwich can’t see her anymore and he’s wondering if the glass needs cleaning or something. So, he opens the casket and is showered on with diamonds. The princess smiles to see the prince finally opened the glass. It was getting hard to breathe.

The problem here is…Does he kiss her? Does he finish his sandwich? Does she have to pee so bad she has to find a tree first? What happens to the diamonds? Does the Sandwich Man deserve them? Do they stay with the chick? Do they split the diamonds 50/50? Deserve? Why is deserving something even part of this fairytale?

People downtown

I had an argument with a woman downtown this week. Truly I don’t know how it happened. I consider myself a pretty easy person to get along with most times. I had just gotten off my first bus of the evening at the corner that I cross to get to the next set of buses. As I got off the bus another one zoomed past. I looked up to make sure it wasn’t mine. Other than that, I paid in no mind.

That’s when the woman hurried up to me. We were crossing the street to the next bus station. She looks directly at me while we walk and she asks, “Was that the 454?”
“No, it wasn’t.” I responded. “It was the 411.” I said.
“Oh, you pay attention. I have to learn how to do that.”
“No, I don’t.” I countered. “It might have been the 511. I’m not sure. It was one of the elevens. It said, Lynnwood.”
“You really do pay attention.” She said as we stepped up the curb onto the sidewalk.
“No, I don’t. I’m not sure which bus it was, other than it’s heading north.” And I realize every time I open my mouth I’m giving details on this damn bus that blew by me just a moment ago. I really, really did not pay attention. I saw it was not my bus and that was it.

I also hits me that I am walking along downtown politely arguing with a stranger, refuting the very idea that I pay attention. Why would I do that? It seems in this instance that I am paying attention. Is this the inability to accept a compliment? I dunno. I should be accepting her fine observation with a smile. But no, I do not let her pay compliment to this one time I display a fine quality.

We are still walking next to each other. We are smiling as we chat. It’s at this point I start laughing at myself. I wonder how twisted I really am. I am laughing that I wouldn’t let her say this about me, that I am attentive. I tell her not to accuse strangers of being attentive, we don’t know how to handle this kind of information. Her bus arrives and she shouts out to me while she gets on the bus, “Don’t be so hard to get along with next time!” We are laughing at each other – oh my god…I’ve become one of those…

I hope she is there again this evening.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Missed Opportunities and Popcorn

I've been out of town for a week. It was nice to get away. We all need that once in a while. I'm glad to be home. I headed to parts south and spent the week visiting with my daughter and the rest of my family. My mother flew in here to the Great Northwet and visited for a day or two first, then we flew together and invaded my brother's gracious home. It was an interesting time.

Twice I sent a text to a friend to see if an invite to join me would be appropriate. Twice the text did not go through. Being so close to the Mexican border cell service is spotty. I took the undelivered messages as a sign that my visit should be more specific toward family. For all the messages that did go through it was telling that those messages with an invitation did not. I send my good thoughts and warm wishes. I have warmer wishes I would sent my friend. But, times are changing in my own little world, whether I mean them to or not. Not everything is up to me. I recognize that. If it were up to me, it would be different.

My youngest daughter will be joining us here in the North Wet in November. I don't know how we will do it but the three of us will be living together in this apartment until we are able to find the home of our dreams. It takes some finagling to bring three dreams together. The emotional/mental/actional ride to combine and mix and settle these dreams will be interesting.

I have five opportunities for jobs waiting for me to apply myself to them. I better get busy. I want any of these jobs more than ever.

Fairytales have been popping out of me like popcorn. I'll butter them up and post what comes out when they are finally salted.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Giant Truths

Once upon a time there was a girl that each day was surrounded by giants. They were large and usually angry. The girl opened the shutters of her window every morning and greeted the giants with a smile as the lumbered up to see her. She would sit at her chair in her room set at the edge of the mountain as the giants lumbered over to her window and told her all their problems.

It seems giants, especially those with terrible crazy eyes, and those with only half of their faces still on their heads, are very unhappy. They each wanted to smile and to be happy. As the girl listened to the giants each day from behind her window she heard how unhappy they were. She wanted to make them happy. She wanted to see them smile. She didn't want the giants to yell at her from the other side of her window. When giants yell, they roar and this hurt the girl's ears and made her scared to listen.

One day a giant came to her window and bellowed at the girl. He wanted to smile. He wanted happiness and to rest in peace. The girl told him to go into the cave just beyond her window and a smile would be put into his face for him. He did not believe her. She was very quiet and leaned closer to her window so that the giant knew what she said was special to him. She pointed from her window at the cave entrance and told the giant again the cave is waiting for him to enter and that a smile for him would be in there. The giant got madder and told the girl he was too smart to be deceived by her and he would not follow her directions to go into the cave.

Inside the cave the elves and fairies and even some trolls were busy building smiles for the giants. There are many giants that need smiles. And the creatures in the cave are always busy making smiles so the giants can be happy. The giants think no one likes them, or that no one thinks of them. They come to the girl's window hoping, but not really believing that a smile is in a cave.

The girl felt sorry for this giant that could not believe a smile would be made for him. She got up from her chair in the window and walked into the cave and around to the entrance to greet the giant and show him the smile that was being made for him. He was a big giant. She was a small girl. She surprised him when she smile up at him at the cave entrance. He looked at the window and saw she was not there. He looked at the girl in the entrance to the cave and got even more angry thinking she was deceiving him even more.

Really, he was a scared giant. He was big and blustery, so that no one would see his fear. The girl thought he was only confused. She did not know he was scared. The giant, when he saw the girl and the door to the cave, started to bellow and belch and stomp his feet. The earth shook and the girl worried the cave would crumble. The other giants nearby did not know what to think either and they all sat on the nearby stones to keep them from rolling down the mountain. But the giant that was scared turned to the other giants and told them to stomp their feet too. He told the other giants the the cave is a trick and will only make them unhappy. He looked at the girl with his big blood-shot eyes, his face red with anger and he said, "I will not go into your cave! I have better things to do than be tricked by you!" and he stomped some more and then stomped away.

The small girl stood silent at the cave entrance. There was nothing more she could do for the giant. Another giant, surprised that the first giant stomped away, quietly, because giants can be very quiet, walked up to the girl and asked her very politely if he could please have the angry giants smile. What he didn't know was when the angry giant stomped his feet and shook the earth the special smile made white and shiny for him had fallen off the shelf and shattered into a million white twinkling stars. The elves and fairies would have to fly up to catch the stars to make the smile all over again.

The girl grew sad. She said, "I'm sorry." And she went back to her window where she stays, listening to giants every day tell her how much they want to smile.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fear of fairytales

There once was a girl who wanted to write fairytales. She was scared of writing them. But, she didn't know why. She might have been scared no one would read them. She might have been scared that she wouldn't write them right. She might even have been scared that they would bring out the fears in her own life and that would mean everyone that read them would know her. That was a scary thought.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Picasso is Coming

Picasso exhibit is opening the weekend at Seattle Art Museum. I was downtown playing tourist with the gang and as we walked past the SAM. On the front walkway is Danny. He is doing chalk art on the sidewalk.
Much like sand castles the work will only last a couple footsteps (waves). I won't be here to see the finished project. I hope Danny got the contract to keep up his images through the exhibit's end in December. When I get back to Seattle I will have to walk down to the SAM again and see if it is still there. What a way to make a living.

The Love-will-find-me argument

I am told, or rather
I have read, well
It is said...
That love finds one
When one is not looking, or
When all hope for love is given up for lost.

I am an incorrigble optimist.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buckets of Pearls

Once upon a time there were two sisters with two jobs very similar, only at different ends of the village. Each sister said her job was more stressful than the other. The sister at the north end of the village would say, My job is more hectic than yours as people come into our village from the north and I must teach them our customs, and find them places to stay. These people from the north don't understand our language or how to live in a village with roads and shops for things. My job is more stressful as I must be compassionate to their needs and remember not to judge them for what they do not know.

"In my job I am a money changer, a teacher, a map maker. I am a guide and an escort. My job takes patience to listen to what the people from the North truly want to find here. I am a translator for many languages into ours. These are all my jobs for all the people coming into our village from the north."

The other sister could hardly sit still as she listened to the list of stressful things. "Ah," she finally said, "My job does all of that - as each person leaves our village to head to the city south of us. And so much more besides. Yes, I change the money to be what money they use in the next village. I draw and explain maps to their next home. I tell them how to stay out of trouble, and what paths they should not take. I help them sell the things they cannot or do not want to take with them. I help them send letters in a thousand different languages ahead to a thousand different villages looking for homes, or loved ones or jobs. My job is stressful as these people have so little time left here and want to have their new life settled as they head to the south. I must be compassionate that when it is time to leave there is nothing that can hold them back. I am here to remind them that all the tears that are shed are actually pearls of love. If I could, I would hand them each the buckets of pearls they have caused with their leaving."